What is Mailana?


Photo by Charles Chan

I was putting together an email this morning introducing what I'm up to with Mailana, and I realized it would make a good blog post too. I've talked about a lot of this stuff in different articles, but never gathered it all together in one place. I'm also preparing for my talk at the Boulder/Denver NewTech meetup on March 23rd, so it's good practice for that as well.

For motivation, my unofficial tagline is "You guys should talk".
I'm driven by the last 5 years I spent at Apple, which was chock full
of smart people but had no system for connecting them to solve
problems. I want to be able to do things like find internal experts
based on email analysis and locate people with contacts at external
companies by building an opt-in company directory of skills. Since it
can be a tough sell to persuade companies to hand over their email data
to a startup, I've created http://twitter.mailana.com/
as a shop window for the technology. It's still early days but it lets
you visualize the actual patterns of conversations in Twitter in some
different ways.

Here's the technical background on Mailana: It's a system for
grabbing emails from all sorts of sources and doing server-side
analysis on the large data-sets you end up with. To grab the data I
have IMAP, Exchange, Outlook PST and Twitter import components. To
serve up the results I have a Facebook-style mini-app API with
HTML-based presentation components running through the browser, as
native Outlook tools, and in Sharepoint.

What do I need? I'm looking for progressive organizations interested in solving the sort of problems I'm tackling. I want to expand beyond my initial proof-of-concept pilots pulling data from Exchange and start tailoring the technology to address people's pressing needs.

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